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Pet Care Tips for the Holiday Season

Pet Abandonment is a Big Menace During the Holiday Seasons

With how busy the holiday season gets, sometimes we forget that our pets need to be taken care of too. Studies reveal that three pets are abandoned every hour during the holiday season. Across the world, we see a spike in the number of these furry friends roaming the streets in search of food and water. Many of them are dumped in the streets, left alone in vacant properties or dropped off at animal shelters.

The COVID-19 pandemic also led to a significant increase in the number of people purchasing pets as most of the population worked remotely. These pets are now being abandoned due to limited time for pet care as their owners have returned to work.

“Pets face serious impacts from abandonment. Dogs and cats, especially when abandoned, develop basic hunting skills. As they go to hunt in the streets, it leads to an increase in the number of roaming pets. Those who have less developed skills in hunting due to domestication may end up starving or suffering adverse health effects from malnutrition and dehydration.” — Dr. Emily Mudoga, Director, APAA

Well, here are some pet care tips to be mindful of during the holiday seasons:

  1. You may consider the holiday season as a way to escape from daily hustles but if you plan to travel, ensure that you do not leave your pet alone for too long. If you plan to take too long on your holiday, find a caregiver who will take care of your pet while you are away.

  2. Holidays are always filled with the seasonal spirit with friends and family coming together to make merry. Loud noises and new faces can be scary for your pets. A good idea would be to spare a room for your pet to escape to if the noise becomes unbearable.

  3. Try to keep to your usual routine for your pets. Keep mealtimes roughly the same, and ensure your pets get their usual amount of exercise. If you do two walks a day, your pet will expect this, they don’t necessarily understand you want to relax during holidays!

  4. If you are traveling with your pet, take their bed and their bedding, the familiar scents will be comforting for them. Give pets the chance to get used to car journeys before making the all-important trip. You don’t want to find them getting travel sick at the wrong moment.

  5. If you are away for holiday and your pet is staying back home, get a pet sitter and allow your pet time to get used to whoever is looking after them before you leave. Also ensure that whoever is looking after your pet is fully aware of their usual care routine as well as who to contact in case of emergency.

  6. Pets especially cats love a Christmas tree to play in, but it might not be something you want to encourage. The tinsel used to decorate Christmas trees can cause serious illness if ingested by pets, as they may cause blockages. Help keep their playful side active by playing with appropriate pet toys with them.

  7. Pets love gifts during holidays too. However, as you gift the pets, ensure that you clean up wrapping paper quickly after gifts have been opened. If chewed, wrapping paper and ribbons can prove dangerous to a pet’s intestines.

  8. Feeding your pet leftovers can not only be toxic but can also lead to the death of our furry friends. If you have to serve holiday celebration leftovers to your pets, ensure that the food is still fresh and safe for pet consumption.

  9. Do not choose the holidays to try a new diet on your pet. Stick to their usual routine as much as possible to minimize stress on them.

  10. During holidays, we love to eat chocolates. Remember not to give your pets chocolate as it contains a chemical called theobromine which can result in significant illness.

APAA encourages all pet owners to keep a closer eye on their furry friends over holidays so as to ensure that everyone stays happy and safe.

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